Getting chicken safely from a rock-hard frozen state to a thawed ready-to-cook state raises a lot of questions. Here are the answers.
First, the chicken should never be thawed on the counter at room temperature or in a bowl of hot water. The following methods should allow you to thaw chicken and keep it out of the “danger zone” (40 to 140°F), which is the temperature zone that allows bacteria to grow.
In general, larger cuts of chicken, especially a whole chicken, should be thawed in the refrigerator, as the chicken will start to cook on the outside if it is thawed in a microwave, and it will take a very long time in a bowl of water. However, smaller cuts, and especially boneless cuts do well with the cold bowl of water or microwave method.